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How Does Addiction Impact a Close-Knit Community?

How Does Addiction Impact a Close-Knit Community?

Addiction treatment protects future members of the community

Addiction is often seen as an individual’s problem or at most the problem of a family. However the effects of addiction are far-reaching, and ignoring addiction or allowing it to continue untreated impacts every close-knit community. If your community in Louisville is being impacted by addiction, learn how you can help the addicted individual while strengthening the community as a whole.

Addiction Impacts Communities Financially

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) found that addiction cost the United States more that 484 million dollars a year, while other chronic conditions such as diabetes and cancer cost less than 172 million each (“Drug Abuse and Addiction: One of America’s Most Challenging Public Health Problems,” 2005). Addiction is more than twice as pricey as any other medical health concern. The large-scale costs of addiction become large-scale costs for even the smallest communities.

Addiction Impacts the Physical Health of a Community

Drug use leaves users at increased risk for cancer, heart disease, organ failure and overdose-related death, however users cannot write addiction off as a risk that only harms themselves. Addiction has an impact on the health of any community. NIDA shares the following statistics:

  • One-third of AIDS cases are related to injection drug use
  • Most hepatitis C cases are related to injection drug use
  • 10 to 22 percent of drivers in car accidents were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time

Addiction can increase the likelihood of non drug-users becoming chronically ill with AIDS and hepatitis C, as an increased prevalence of these and other communicable diseases in a community increases the chances of any member becoming ill. Addiction also contributes to accident-related injuries and death and the associated loss of community members.

Addiction Impacts a Community’s Future

Pleas for change in addiction policy and treatment often cite the contemporary, immediate effects of addiction, yet addiction reaches into the future. Money spent now on addiction and healthcare means money will not be available in the future or cannot be spent on plans and resources that benefit the future. Friends of NIDA shares, “for every dollar spent on addiction treatment programs, there is a $4 to $7 reduction in the cost of drug-related crimes. With some outpatient programs, total savings can exceed costs by a ratio of 12:1” (“Addiction Research: A National Imperative,” November 2008). Money redirected towards recovery rather than punishment or ineffective treatment that only offer detox services and does not provide for a life of recovery is money saved in the long run.

Addiction treatment does more than help a community’s future economics. It also protects future members of the community. NIDA explains, “Approximately 50% to 80% of all child abuse and neglect cases substantiated by child protective services involve some degree of substance abuse by the child’s parents.” This is a tragic enough statistic, yet the numbers continue to show, “At least two-thirds of patients in drug abuse treatment centers say they were physically or sexually abused as children.” Drug abuse causes an increase in child abuse, and child abuse increases the likelihood of addiction. This becomes a seemingly inescapable cycle that impacts communities now and later, yet communities and individuals can reset these statistics by making addiction treatment accessible for every community member and removing the stigma or judgment that makes speaking up and getting help hard for so many.

Help Break the Cycle of Addiction

The first step in breaking the cycle of addiction is seeking help and learning more about getting treatment for yourself or the addicted individual in your Louisville community, be it a brother, sister, parent, child or close friend. Our toll-free helpline is available to you 24 hours a day, so there is no wrong time to learn about your options and take action for yourself, your family and your community.

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